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Distribute Media Securely with Microsoft's Digital Rights Management  : Page 4

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a solution to online media piracy that requires a user to obtain server-distributed licenses to unlock encrypted content. Learn how to employ this security model using Microsoft's DRM software for Windows Media.




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Forward-Thinking Design Despite Limitations
You've now seen a complete list of the basic steps required to develop a Windows Media DRM solution. It is also worth noting that the DRM media could be distributed using Windows Media Server as opposed to downloading. This would prevent your client from retaining a local copy of the media. For an insight into some of the possible business models you could employ for DRM, refer to "Implementing Different Business Models" in the SDK or view it online at msdn.microsoft.com.

The Windows Media DRM SDK is an adaptable set of components that effectively reduces the potential for digital piracy. However, the SDK is not without its pitfalls. I think the biggest oversight in the SDK is the inability to determine whether a license request is a renewal or a first attempt at acquiring a license. This makes license acquisition unnecessarily difficult for the distributor to control. Many of the limitations noted in this article hamper the SDK's ease of use but, overall, the DRM concepts are well thought through. Microsoft's forward-thinking design enables a small, automated security update to be applied with ease in the event that the black-boxed DRM logic is compromised. By future-proofing the software against security hacks, Microsoft proactively limits any long-term security exposures or major software fixes. This has proven to be the biggest benefit in Microsoft's DRM deployment and single-handedly warrants a further investigation into the technology.

James Kent is a MCSD-certified contractor who also works as a freelance journalist. He has been working in the digital music industry in London for around a year on projects with major record labels. Previously, he worked in areas ranging from OLAP to mobile technologies. You can reach him by e-mail at jkentjnr@hotmail.com.
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